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October 2015


West of England LEP top for business start ups
Information agency BankSearch has rated the West of England LEP top of the 39 LEPs across the country for business start-ups.  5.7% more businesses started up in the West of England LEP during the first 8 months of this year compared with the corresponding period of last year accounting for 2.4% of all start- ups across England. more

Hickley deal secured
EDF have signed an agreement with Chinese investors that will pave the way for construction of the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station, the first new-build nuclear station in a generation that is expected to provide up to £50bn for the South West economy with benefits seen across a number of sectors. more

South West unemployment remains lowest in the country
The latest figures show that unemployment in the South West fell by 13,000 to 4%. National unemployment is at a seven year low and the South West is spearheading this drive, with the lowest unemployment of any UK region. more

South Gloucestershire wins award for role in driving economic growth
South Gloucestershire Council has been awarded “Local Authority of the Year” at the Insider South West Property Awards. The category recognises the role councils play in driving economic growth through improvements to infrastructure. Highlights included Rolls-Royce’s decision to make Filton its new Advanced Composite Technology Development Centre and projects such as the Bristol & Bath Science Park. more

International delegates from over 70 countries looking to do business with the West of England
UKTI is hosting their flagship event, ExploreExport 2015, aimed at companies who are keen to expand overseas, on 11 November in Bristol. The event will allow attendees to explore numerous business opportunities with British Embassies and Consulates from around the world in just one day without the travel costs or time investment. more



Step forward for Weston town regeneration
North Somerset Council have approved plans by Weston College to convert the Winter Gardens into a £15m new law and professional services academy.  In addition they have approved the redevelopment of Weston police station and the adjoining former magistrates court building for investment in high quality urban living space. 

The projects are another big step towards the regeneration of Weston Super Mare, it is hoped that they will attract talented young people to live in the centre making it more vibrant and boosting the prosperity and diversity of the town. more

Keynsham Civic Centre – best place to work in UK
Keynsham Civic Centre, part of the £34m redevelopment of Keynsham, has been named the best place to work in UK at the British Council for Offices (BCO) national awards. The award was given for providing an environmentally sustainable, low maintenance and flexible workspace whilst acting as a catalyst for the regeneration of the town. more

Bloodhound land speed record car revealed
Bloodhound SSC, the first 1,000 mph car, has gone on display at London’s Canary Wharf with 8,000 people expected to attend the exhibition. The car, which features a Rolls-Royce EJ200 jet engine and supercharged Jaguar V8 engine, is the product of 8 years of research by a Bristol based team who will be attempting to break the land speed record on a specially built track in South Africa in 2016. more  

Bristol’s Ujima Radio receives National Diversity award
Community radio station Ujima has won the outstanding contribution to diversity in the race, faith and religion category at the National Diversity awards for its work on projects with a lasting social impact and discussion programmes reflecting the concerns of young BME and the more disadvantaged residents of Bristol. more

Medilink South West launches promoting regional innovation
More than 80 of the South West’s top clinicians, academic and businesses attended the launch of Medilink South West, a membership group tasked with stimulating the growth of the regions life science and healthcare sectors. Business West has formed the consortium with Medilink South West and will develop strong links with UWE and the Academic Health Science Networks to help maximize opportunities in the fast growing sector. more

Inaugural Bristol to Bath marathon takes place this weekend
The new South West City to City marathon takes place on Sunday 25 October taking in iconic landmarks and beautiful sites along the way.  The closed road run begins in Queen Square Bristol goes through the South Gloucestershire countryside and ends in Bath taking in sites along the way including the SS Great Britain, Avon valley railway, the River Avon and Victoria Park in Bath. more

Colston Hall launches new campaign to support £45 million appeal
Bristol’s Colston Hall is calling on 45,000 people across the region to back its £45 million transformation. The aim of the ’45 for 45’ campaign is to demonstrate widespread support for their plans to turn the Hall into one of the best arts and learning facilities in the country. Bristol Music Trust has already secured £15 million towards the £45 million, thanks to commitments from Bristol City Council and the Treasury. Support the campaign



West of England Growth Hub to revolutionise business support
An exciting new resource for businesses in the West of England is in the final stages of development before going live in December. The West of England Growth Hub will create a web based community linking support providers with SMEs and will be the fastest place to find solutions to business problems. To find out more and get involved.

UK’s first advanced center for additive manufacturing to be built in Bristol
HiETA Technologies is building an advanced manufacturing centre at Bristol & Bath Science Park creating six new jobs and breaking new ground for the UK additive manufacturing (a process where layers of material are used to create 3D objects and components) industry. more

West of England businesses socially responsible
The Bath Percent Club, which encourages city businesses to donate at least 1% of their profits to local good causes, has been launched with more than 50 firms as founding members.  The club is based on an idea by the late Bath self-made businessman Brian Roper, who over two decades donated an estimated £6m. more

Meanwhile Neighbourly, the community-business connector, has become one of the founding UK members of the B Corporation, a global scheme that identifies socially responsible business. Companies have to meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability and transparency before they can gain the B Corporation status. more



Skills Funding Agency (SFA) Register of Training Organisations (ROTO) has re-opended
The SFA has re-opened the ROTO and it will remain open until 5pm on the 13th November 2015. In order to respond to SFA procurements including European Social Fund, organisations will need to be registered on ROTO. For more information.

You can also find out more information about the overall West of England approach to European Structural & Investment Fund here.

Apprenticeship Ambition
The West of England is launching their Apprenticeship Ambition programme on 5 November by hosting a briefing for education providers and businesses with an interest in skills development. The briefing will provide details of the West of England’s commitment to support economic growth through apprenticeship development and outline what is being done at a national and local level to boost apprenticeship numbers. more

Inspire the next generation of engineers
Tomorrow Engineers is an initiative that helps young people from all backgrounds understand the variety, excitement and opportunity presented by a career in engineering and technology with the aim of everyone between 11 and 14 having at least one engineering experience with an employer. The network now has an Employer Support Manager based in the South West to help employers develop a schools engagement programme. more

UWE’s “SME Director Development Programme” open for enrolments
The West of England LEP has been working with UWE to help shape a new leadership and management course aimed at breaking down SME barriers to growth. As a result UWE have developed a short, tailored and highly practical training progrmamme for Directors of SMEs. more

Thousands of students meet employers at South Gloucestershire careers event
The Ambitions careers event held this week organised by South Gloucestershire, UWE and South Gloucestershire & Stroud College is one of the largest of its kind in the South West with more than 10,000 year 9 students taking part in interactive workshops with employers.

Ambitions aims to help young people make effective decisions about their future choices in education and employment. more

Professional & Financial Services – pathways to professions event
The West of England LEP is running an event on 24 November informing careers advisors and employability teachers of the progression routes in the Professional & Financial services sectors. more 

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The LEP is working hard to ensure skills match employers' needs
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